Why Dual-Diagnosis Treatment is Important

The discovery of co-occurrence in the treatment of substance abuse addictions has led to a breakthrough for people that are suffering from both mental disorders and substance and drug abuse. The determination of co-occurrence is what is known as dual diagnosis. Research shows that over 30% of Americans suffering from drug and substance abuse are also struggling with mental disorders including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and are also bipolar. It was discovered that a certain mental illness accompanied most of the time drug and substance abuse. Some of the most commonly occurring are depression and alcohol, marijuana and bipolar, anxiety and cocaine and many more combinations.  People with mental disorders were found more likely to self medicate using drugs and substances to cope with their conditions leading to addictions. Those with addictions brought to the surface underlying mental illnesses that are triggered by the overuse of alcohol and drugs.

The Importance of dual diagnosis

Addiction treatment will not yield much fruit if there are underlying mental health issues. Finding a way to handle both problems at the same time heightens the chances of the patient recovering fully. Co-occurrence brings about lapses when treatment is offered without a dual diagnosis. Taking a depressed alcoholic through rehab does not solve the underlying issue, especially if the person began drinking due to depression. Curing both mental and addiction problems restore a patient fully. The dual diagnosis comes with several advantages.

  • One of these reasons includes being able to identify the root of the addiction. Treating drug and substance abuse for the sake of it will yield results, but create unnecessary struggles that can be overcome by understanding how the patient got there in the first place — unearthing the root cause of an addiction pinpoints a mental disorder that needs to be addressed concurrently for healing actually to occur.
  • The other advantage is that you get a deeper understanding of the relationship between the patient’s drug and substance abuse and mental illness. This then gives you a platform that you can use to help the patient overcome obstacles when dealing with addictions — working out the patient’s weaknesses and strengths about the problem help plan for the best cause of action. There are also reasons behind every mental illness besides inherited ones. Trauma is one of the most common reasons why most mental disorders arise. Mental illness will arise if an individual is unable to cope with terrible trauma due to loss of loved ones, loss of a career, disease and dangerous encounters.
  • Dual diagnosis enables the care fiver to help the patient learn skills to deal with distress without using alcohol and substance abuse as the way out. A patient that learns how to deal with difficult times normally will not use drugs and alcohol as a way out of the pain.
  • Dual diagnosis enables the patient to participate in a healing process that is unique to the issues at hand. Taking medication and going through treatment in a general manner misses the core of the issue. Every problem is unique when it comes to mental illness. This may not be so with alcohol, drugs and substance use. Addictions have an almost common treatment, while mental illness depends on the individual’s trauma.


It is clear that mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse can be related. It is important to note that the symptoms of drug abuse can mimic mental illness and vice versa. There is a thin line between the two which is why dual diagnosis is vital. Determining the reason why a patient is doing what he or she is doing will save time when it comes to dealing with addictions.

Contact us to talk to one of our addiction treatment professionals today to learn more about Dual-Diagnosis treatment.

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